|The three little Schaffhausen girls|
A man asked his ex-wife for a visit with his daughters, but when he came he killed them all.
The North Dakota man killed his three daughters after they ran to greet him during a surprise visit. The man left their bodies tucked in their beds, Wisconsin authorities said in court documents released this week.
St. Croix County prosecutors filed a criminal complaint accusing Aaron Schaffhausen, 34, of three counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Each charge carries a mandatory life sentence.
Circuit Judge W. Howard Cameron set bail at $2 million on Thursday, and ordered him to have no contact with the mother of the girls or her immediate family.
Autopsy results showed 11-year-old Amara Schaffhausen, 8-year-old Sophie Schaffhausen, and 5-year-old Cecilia Schaffhausen, died of "sharp force injury" to the neck. Cecilia had also been strangled, according to the complaint.
The girls’ mother, Jessica Schaffhausen, and Aaron, got divorced last January. He lived in Minot while the girls lived with their mother in River Falls, a city of 15,000 residents about 30 miles east of Twin Cities, in a rented house of her ex-husband, according to the complaint.
The investigators wrote in the complaint that Aaron Schaffhausen sent a message to his ex-wife around noon on Tuesday, and called for an unannounced visit with the girls. The mother thought he must be working a construction job in Minot, but agreed saying that he should be gone by mid-afternoon because she did not want to see him.
The girls’ baby sitter told investigators that the girls were so excited to see him that they rushed towards him and led him upstairs to show off their stuff. The nanny followed them upstairs, hugged them goodbye and left, according to the indictment.
About two hours later, Aaron Schaffhausen called his ex-wife.
"You can come home now because I killed the children," said Jessica Schaffhausen.
She immediately called police, who found no one home when they got there. They found the girls in bed, blankets up to their neck. The three had what appeared to be dried blood on their faces and a large amount of blood that covered the carpet in the bedroom.
Officers detected an odor they thought at first was natural gas. It was later discovered that a container of gasoline had overturned in the basement, spilling their contents.
About an hour after he contacted his ex-wife, Aaron Schaffhausen arrived at the parking lot of the River Falls police station and surrendered.
The bureau noted his pants were stained with what appeared to be blood. Detectives tried to interview the man, according to the complaint, but he said nothing.